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Recipe for Dal Makhani
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5 from 5 votes

Dal Makhani - Easy and Yummy Recipe

Get the real dal makhani taste with this easy and super flavorful recipe, that is ready in few simple steps, while the slow simmer does most of the work!
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Soaking time8 hours
Total Time9 hours 10 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Diet: Vegetarian
Servings: 6 portions
Calories: 202kcal
Author: Elle John


  • Pressure Cooker


  • 150 g Dried Brown Lentils Or Black Lentils
  • 100 g Canned Kidney Beans
  • 2 tablespoon Salted Butter
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin Seeds
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 Black Cardamom
  • 1 Green Cardamom
  • 2 Cloves
  • ½ inch Cinnamon Stick
  • 1 Medium Onion Finely Chopped
  • 1 ½ teaspoon Ginger Garlic Paste
  • 2 Green Chillies
  • ¾ Cup Tomato Puree
  • 1 teaspoon Kashmiri Red Chili Powder
  • ½ teaspoon Garam Masala Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Dried Fenugreek Leaves Kasuri Methi
  • ¼ cup Heavy Cream
  • ¼ teaspoon Granulated Sugar


Prepare The Lentils and Beans

  • Start by soaking the dry lentils overnight in plenty of room temperature water, or at least 4 hours in hot water. Once done rinse them well and move to the next step.
  • The lentil to water ratio is 1:3 -1:4 when it comes to cooking, so you will need ¾ cups [150g] of lentils and about 3 cups of water for the lentils, plus ½ to 1 cup for the canned kidney beans, so 4 cups in total [or 800-900ml].
  • Add the lentils, water, and beans to the pressure cooker and put on high heat until the water boils; this will take 5-10 minutes.
  • Once the water boils, reduce the flame to medium and pressure cook the lentils for 25-30 minutes. After this, remove from the heat and allow the pressure to release naturally. Once the pressure is released, check the consistency of the lentils and cook further if required.
  • TOP TIP: If you didn't soak the lentils, simply add an extra cup of water, then cook for 45 minutes on medium heat from when the water boils.
  • Once ready, the lentils and kidney beans should be very well cooked and hardly any water will be left in the cooker. Should you like, the dal and beans can be broken down further using a potato masher.

Prepare The Masala

  • Heat the butter in a saucepan over low to medium heat; once melted, add the cumin seeds.
  • Once the cumin is fragrant, add the other whole spices: bay leaf, black and green cardamom, cloves, and cinnamon stick. Mix well and allow them to release their aroma in the butter for about 30 seconds to a minutes.
  • Next, add the sliced onions and a pinch of salt. Mix well and cook until the onions become soft and golden, which will take approximately 4-5 minutes.
  • Add the ginger garlic paste and green chillies to the onions, and mix well. Cook for 30 seconds or until the smell of rawness of the paste has gone.
  • Once done, add the tomato puree and incorporate it to the curry. Once it simmers, allow it to cook for 1-2 minutes.
  • Finally, add the ground spices: garam masala powder and Kashmiri red chili powder [or red chilli powder if you prefer dal makhani hot], as well as a pinch of salt. Mix the spices well and allow them to cook until they separate from the oil, which will take approximately 1 to 2 minutes.
  • At this stage, add the cooked urad dal and red kidney beans to the masala. Add 2 cups of water and mix well.
  • Cover the saucepan with a lid, reduce the flame to low, and allow the curry to simmer for 30-45 minutes. This step is important, so the longer, the better, as the lentils and beans will become softer and mushier, creating a smooth and creamy texture.
  • Finally, warm the kasuri methi in the microwave for 10 seconds, then using the palms of your hands, crush them in the dal makhani.
  • At this stage, add the cream and the optional sugar too.
  • Mix everything well, taste for salt and add some water if the consistency of the dal makhani is too thick.
  • Bring to a light simmer for 2 minutes, then garnish dal makhani with salted butter and serve with roti, jeera rice, or any side of choice!


Dry kidney beans [Rajma]: If using dry beans, then soak the red kidney beans overnight together with the lentils, and add two extra cups of water to the Indian pressure cooker. The dal and rajma will be ready in about 45 minutes.
Cream: Any cooking cream will do, however double cream, heavy cream, unsweetened whipping cream, and half and half are the best for flavor.
Black and Green Cardamoms: If you don't have black cardamom, use only green, however, they are different.
Tomato Puree: This can be store-bought passata-style sauce, or it can be homemade. It is important that, if it is purchased pre-made, it has no added flavorings. It can be substituted for tomato paste or chopped fresh or canned tomatoes.
Green Chilies and Kashmiri Red Chili Powder: These are the two ingredients that bring heat to the recipe, and you can use more or less, according to your preference. Kashmiri chilli powder is milder than red chili powder, however, it offers a nice red color, which really works well with brown or black lentils.
Sugar: This is an optional ingredient, and is mainly needed if the tomato puree is acidic and if you like that added sweetness to the creamy texture.
Slow Cooking: Once the cooked lentils have been added to the curry, ensure you simmer on a low flame for at least 30 minutes - however, should you be able to continue this process for a whole hour, then even better! The lentils will break down and create a smooth buttery texture, which is one of the selling points of this recipe.
Cooking On The Stove: If you don't like pressure cooking [or don't have a pressure cooker], the soaked lentils and red kidney beans can be cooked in a large pan filled with water. This process will definitely take longer, so it is essential that the cooking ingredients are soaked as long as possible.
How to store dal makhani?
In the fridge: Store the dal in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days.
In the freezer: Dal makhani can be frozen for up to three months; simply store it in a freezer-safe container or freezer bags. To serve it again, allow it to thaw overnight in the fridge or for 4 hours on the kitchen counter, then reheat until piping hot on the stove or in the microwave, adding a little water if necessary.


Calories: 202kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 21mg | Sodium: 114mg | Potassium: 492mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 544IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 46mg | Iron: 3mg